Insight

Success Lies at the Intersection of Technology and Operations

A happy marriage between technology and operations is essential for every wealth management firm. 

As technology continues to become central to the delivery of wealth management services, moving far beyond just tools to streamline manual processes, implementing successful technology solutions requires close collaboration between the operations and technology teams to ensure strategic goals are in alignment.

Technology is not only used to streamline operations, but to also help make team members more efficient and effective, increase profitability, enable the best client experience possible and build a happier team. Technology and operations teams should work together throughout the process of adopting new tools and processes. Involving the operations team—often the main users and drivers of  technology platforms—in the initial project discussions gives them agency and accountability for the results. This dynamic often guarantees an increased likelihood of a successful implementation and higher user adoption of a tool.

Getting The Right Tools at the Right Time to The Right People

The operations team’s role in the initial technology discussions is both strategic and tactical. When they share their strategic vision at the forefront, it helps to ensure that the operations and technology visions are in alignment. Everyone can understand each party’s objectives and build collective goals. This is important because the two teams should be aligned for a common cause with a common end goal, or at least not competing goals.

As users of the technology, operations can also use the early discussions to define their needs and requirements for the tools. As stakeholders, they should review the requirements, review the technology options, participate in user acceptance testing and training, and evangelize within the firm, because their involvement in these steps is what will drive successful implementation and adoption.

Creating a Partnership that Lasts from Start to Finish

The first step in building a process for successful technology implementation, is to create a collaborative Technology Advisory Board (“TAB”) that includes the COO/Director of Operations, operations managers and people doing the work on a daily basis. The technology advisory board members are not just invited to provide input as a courtesy. Their opinions carry weight and should guide the process from planning through implementation. This sets them up as champions for the solutions and resources for the team throughout the implementation process and into on-going BAU support (business as usual).

Successful Change is Dependent Upon Collective Communication

It can be challenging for wealth management firms to change how they function—whether that means using new technology tools or evolving processes. Communicating regularly is critical, both in instances where team members will need to adopt new technology tools and when technology can’t solve the problem and instead the operational processes need to change. Even with advisor-facing tools where the operations team is the middle man and not the end user, having them champion the technology will help with other end users’ success. Communicating a clear and concise Tech and Ops vision and facilitating an open dialogue about why things are happening (or not happening) will help bring about more successful change throughout the firm.

Ensuring Successful Implementation through Collaboration

The entire process is collaborative. With its extensive insight on the full wealth management process from prospecting to reporting; the operations component is key for technology to work as intended. A strong technology and operations partnership is the best way for wealth management firms to offer new and more services to clients and work more efficiently.

In the final stages of a project, the operations team has an active role in partnership with the technology team: engaging in user testing, training other members in the firm, serving as a point of contact for questions and communicating how change fits into the overall strategic vision from an operational and organizational or corporate vision. This level of engagement ensures that the firm is delivering the right tools at the right time to the right people. 

In an ideal technology and operations marriage, wealth management firms have a single combined Tech and Ops strategy, but at a minimum the two strategies should be aligned. The alignment can remove conflict between the teams and eliminate gaps while ensuring everyone moves in the same direction. When everyone understands the aligned goals, the technology implementation has a much higher chance of success.

Need help aligning your tech and ops strategies? Get in touch and we can guide you through the process. 

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